Eastern Suburbs have extended their lead in the Women’s National League with a statement-making 4-2 win against nearest rivals Western Springs.
It wasn’t just the score that makes Suburbs favourites to make the December grand final — it was the fact they took a 4-0 lead in the game before Springs landed any blows of their own.
The Lilywhites took the lead through leading scorer Tayla O’Brien when she got the ball unmarked, lined up a shot and it went through the legs of Springs goalkeeper Angelique Tuisamoa.
Main photo: Suburbs share O’Brien’s joy when her goal gives them an early lead at Seddon Fields.
On the half-hour, Suburbs doubled their lead with a peach of a goal. It started with a clearance by ‘keeper Brooke Bennett.
Four passes later and Deven Jackson was bursting through the Springs defence to calmly place it past the advancing Tuisamoa and inside the far post.
The sides turned around with Suburbs looking in control, at 2-0.
Within three minutes of the restart, Suburbs extended their lead further. O’Brien won a header in midfield, Jackson laid it off to Charlotte Carroll and the former Wellington United player struck a fine shot from 25 metres to hit the net.
O’Brien, who has been in such good form since the start of the national league, was calling the shots, dropping deep for the ball and making things happen.
In the 69th minute, she started a move in midfield and the ball went down the left flank for it to be crossed hard and low to the near post. O’Brien was there to finish the move she’d started.
It was 4-0 with twenty minutes to go.
To their credit, Springs kept trying and in the 73rd minute, substitute Lara Colpi crossed for Sophia Garcia to sky her shot. A minute later, Colpi shot and when Bennett saved, she followed up and netted the rebound.
In the 85th minute, Suburbs went close when substitute Zoe Benson fired wide.
A minute later, Springs scored a beauty when Garcia put Arisa Takeda in the clear. She cut back inside her defender and curled a shot into the far top corner.
The result leaves Springs vulnerable to a charge from third-placed Northern Rovers who can move within five points of them with a win at Southern United on Sunday.
Game played on Friday October 28, 2022
Western Springs 2 (Lara Colpi 74′, Arisa Takeda 86′)
Eastern Suburbs 4 (Tayla O’Brien 16′, 69′, Deven Jackson 30′, Charlotte Carroll 48′)
Game to be played on Saturday October 29, 2022
Capital Football (6th) v Canterbury United Pride (5th)
Petone Memorial Park, Petone, 2.30pm
Games to be played on Sunday October 30, 2022
Auckland United (7th) v Central Football (8th)
Keith Hay Park, Mt Roskill, 2.30pm
Southern United (4th) v Northern Rovers (3rd)